Tag Archives: digital media

Article 3/2016 Piloting with Learning Toolbox (LTB) takes off in Bau-ABC

Pekka Kämäräinen

In February and March 2016 the Learning Toolbox (LTB) was introduced into the apprentice training of Bau-ABC. As has been indicated in previous articles of this series, the Theme Room training campaign (in November 2015) had already provided a good basis for the pilot activities. This third article gives firstly insights into the preparation of the piloting by Bau-ABC trainers – supported by Learning Layers (LL) partners. Secondly it provides a brief report on the kick-off event and on a follow-up visit of LL partners. The point of the interest is to see, how trainers of Bau-ABC develop their own patterns of using the LTB.

1.Preparation of pilot activities by trainers: three exemplary cases

In the preparatory talks Bau-ABC trainers presented three exemplary cases for implementing LTB in their training.  The first case focuses on the trade of well-builders. The second case deals with the learning area ‘health and safety’. The third case presents a joint project of two trades – carpenters and bricklayers.

a) In the trade of well-builders (Brunnenbauer) the use of LTB is being brought via support materials and activities. The responsible trainer Lothar Schoka is creating stacks that provide access relevant guidelines and instructions (e.g. extracts of DIN-norms). Also, the apprentices can access digital worksheets (lists of tools and materials) via LTB.

b) Regarding the theme ‘health and safety’ (Arbeitssicherheit und Gesundheitsschutz), the competent body in the construction sector (BG Bau) provides a comprehensive set of modularised reference materials (Baukasten) and a special materials for young craftsmen. In addition, Bau-ABC uses a brief compendium for trainers (KomPass). These materials are available on the net. Moreover, when starting their training project , the apprentices have to fill a risk analysis form related to the tasks (Gefährdungsbeurteilung). The potential benefits of using LTB is that it can provide

  • easy access to Internet documents (to be checked later on),
  • Immediate access to compressed information (checklists, extracts of information sheets, model solutions with feedback),
  • access to quiz tools (ordinary quiz or specific variants for detecting errors).

c) The joint project of carpenters (Zimmerer) and bricklayers (Maurer) is based on a traditional technique of building houses with wooden frames and brick walls (Fachwerkhaus). The apprentices’ project with a small construction using this technique provides cooperation opportunities for these two trades. The trainers of these trades (Markus Pape and Kevin Kuck) see the advantage in using LTB and in creating joint stacks in the following way:

  • LTB gives an overview on the common project (as a whole) and on related standards.
  • LTB stacks help to organise the exercises of the two groups (carpenters and bricklayers) in each others’ tasks.
  • LTB stacks help to coordinate the collaboration between the groups during the project.


Screenshot 1 and 2: Building LTB-stacks for a joint project of carpenters and bricklayers

2. Observations on the Kick-off event 14.3.2016 and during the follow-up visit

On the 14th of March a kick-off event was organised for the pilots with LTB in two trades – the carpenters and the well-builders. Several LL partners supported the event with their contributions. Some time later, a group from ITB and Pontydysgu visited Bau-ABC to collect feedback and to discuss further steps in the  piloting with the Learning Toolbox (LTB).

Below I give firstly some insights into the work with the group of carpenters (Zimmerer) during the kick-off event. Then I give a brief report on the follow-up visit and on points that were raised in our discussions with Bau-ABc trainers.

Kick-off of LTB pilot with the carpenters

In the group of carpenters the LL partners presented firstly the project and the functionality of LTB as an integrative toolset. Then, the apprentices installed LTB on their smartphones. Once this was achieved, the trainer Fidi Bruns gave an overview on the above mentioned training project. In the next phase the trainer Markus Pape presented the LTB stacks with which the apprentices are expected to work (and how they can be used).  After these instructions the LL partners organised a group discussion. In this discussion the apprentices gave feedback on the new toolset and what benefits they could immediately see in using it.

Building upon the work of the pioneering trades

As has been indicated, the carpenters and bricklayers started immediately with a joint project. A similar cooperation opportunity was identified with the pioneering group of well-builders. In the next phase they will continue in Bau-ABC with the trade of machinery and metalworking (Maschinen- und Metalltechnik). Lothar Schoka agreed to work with his colleagues in this trade to develop stacks for them and to advise them in the use of LTB. Likewise, we discovered that the trainers working with road-builders (Strassenbauer) and pipeline-builders (Rohrleitungsbauer) can work together to develop new stacks on the basis of existing pilot stack for road-builders.


Screenshot 3 and 4: Building closely matching LTB-stacks for the pilot group getting taining in neighbouring trades (well-duilding, pipeline-building)

In this respect we saw that LTB pilots can be brought further via natural cooperation between the neighbouring trades. However, we also noted several challenges and hurdles that need to be taken up in Bau-ABC and in the LTB developers’ team. And we saw a possibility to proceed to a new phase of Theme Room training with the use of LTB as one of the themes.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 3/2016

Article 2/2016 Peer learning and use of digital media in Theme Room workshops

Pekka Kämäräinen

The first article of this series gives an overview of the Theme Room training campaign that was implemented in the training centre Bau-ABC in November 2015. This second article gives insights into the processes of peer learning and into use of digital media during the workshop sessions. Below the two main sections inform of the activities and learning experiences with the themes “Social media as support for learning” and “Preparation of digital learning materials”.

Here it is worthwhile to note that these observations refer mainly to the group in which the author served as a co-tutor. In addition, some general remarks are made on the group dynamics in the parallel groups (based on knowledge sharing between the tutors).

1. The role of Social Media as support for learning

In most groups the tutors from Bau-ABC were hosting Facebook groups for their trade and the apprentices were actively involved as contributors and readers. Yet, not all training staff was in favour of using Facebook. However, it was acknowledged by the participants that the existing Facebook groups of Bau-ABC have played a positive role. Therefore, the exercises  with Facebook served as a natural ‘starter’ for this theme – to be followed by other media platforms and networks.

The uses of Facebook – and the importance of getting hands on Facebook

The learning exercises started with creating/activating accounts and getting informed of the settings. Here, some groups put more attention on the privacy settings, whilst others worked with sharing contents between individuals and groups. Altogether, these exercises helped to overcome the gap between users and non-users.

Getting a broader overview of social media, platforms and networks

The aim of the training was to get introduced to a wider range of social media and to get a picture of their usability in apprentice training. For this purpose, there were brief demonstrations and a brainstorming session for discussing the pros and cons with different media. In this way we covered the use of Twitter, blogs, YouTube and other media. Finally, the participants were invited to indicate their own priorities for using social media and to explain, for what purposes and with which target groups they are suitable.

2.  Preparing digital learning materials for vocational training

With this theme we had somewhat different approaches in parallel groups. The groups that began with this theme started to prepare exemplary digital contents and emphasised the production and editing processes. The groups that began with the theme ‘Social Media’ put the main emphasis on working with blogs and integrating the use of different tools to their work with blogs (as digital learning environments).


Screenshot 1 and 2: Production and editing video material in Theme Room workshops

Working with videos and particular GoConqr tools

The two pioneering groups working with digital learning materials engaged the participants in producing short videos. In addition they prepared exemplary exercises for apprentices with GoConqr quiz tools. These groups used the brainstorming phases to consider the usability of videos and GoConqr applications in training. When continuing to social media, these groups discussed the role of blogs as instruments for presenting such exercises for apprentices.

ScrShot Blogs-StartScrShot_GoConqr

Screenshot 3 and 4: Working with trainers’ blogs and GoConqr Quizzes

Working with blogs

The groups that put more emphasis on blogs had slightly different approaches. In one group the trainers were engaged to create completely new blogs and to use them for posting and commenting messages. Here the participants became familiar with the processes, techniques and editing options.

In another group the main attention was given on the existing trainers’ blogs (in particular the Zimmererblog and the Brunnenbauerblog). When exploring the existing blogs the participants discussed, how these pioneering blogs could be used as  a basis for introducing similar solutions for other occupational areas. In a next step, the question of optimal uses of blogs was taken up again. The group prepared jointly a GoConqr mindmap presenting arguments for introducing different contents via blogs and for making them public or private.

The work in both groups brought more closer to each other participants who had already worked with blogs and the others who had not had experience with blogs. Furthermore, the discussion in the latter group brought forward the idea of integrated ‘packages’ as building blocks for further trainers’ blogs. These packages could link to each other text documents, photos/drawings/videos, quiz tests and links to external materials. In this respect the session paved way for introducing the Learning Toolbox.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 2/2016

Article 1/2016 Insights into “Theme Room” training campaign in Bau-ABC Rostrup

Pekka Kämäräinen

One of the highlights in the Construction pilot of the Learning Layers (LL) project in 2015 was the training campaign based on the “Theme Room” approach in the training centre Bau-ABC Rostrup. Originally the idea of such a campaign was initiated by the traininers (Lehrwerkmeister) of Bau-ABC in their internal discussions. They wanted to have a flexible training model that would link to each other regular presence workshops and self-organised learning with peer tutoring and online support. This was brought together in the concept of “Theme Rooms” (Themenräume).

1. The “Theme Room” approach takes shape and is implemented

The key idea of the Theme Room concept was to agree on a set of key themes that would be covered by parallel (or successive) workshops. The continuation of learning should also be supported by online learning spaces and peer tutors. The participants will work their way through the set of Theme Rooms in an agreed time frame (to be adjusted to the tempo of the participants). With the help of online learning spaces and peer tutoring the participants should be supported to make their way through the learning tasks in the Theme Rooms.


Screenshot 1 and 2: Grouping into Theme Rooms and Overview on learning materials

In the preparation the following set of themes was considered for the Theme Room training:

  1. Use of social media as support for learning
  2. Preparation of digital learning materials
  3. Intellectual property rights, licensing and sharing information
  4. Use of Learning Toolbox (LTB) as an integrative toolset.

In the detailed planning we chose to start with fewer themes and to organise two workshops for each of the two selected key themes. We agreed to start with the themes ‘Social media’ and ‘Digital learning materials’. The theme ‘Intellectual property rights’ was then introduced by a short  contributions from a special tutor (Dirk Stieglitz) who visited the groups one after another. Finally, we agreed to postpone the introduction of the Learning Toolbox (LTB) to a later phase of the Theme Room training.

With these content-related preparations we then started the training campaign that involved the whole training staff of Bau-ABC (in Rostrup) and the parallel centre ABZ (in Mellendorf). For each parallel group (altogether 5) we appointed one peer tutor from Bau-ABC staff (Lothar Schoka, Kevin Kuck, Markus Pape, Stefan Wiedenstried, Melanie Campbell) and a co-tutor from the ITB team (Pekka Kämäräinen, Joanna Burchert, Lars Heinemann, Werner Müller, Ludger Deitmer). In addition, Dirk Stieglitz served as a special tutor and Jaanika Hirv (Tallinn University) was supporting the overall implementation of the training.

2. Interim assessment after the first Theme Room workshops

Insights into the thematic workshops and into the learning experiences will be given in another article (see Peer learning and use of digital media in Theme Room workshops). Therefore I will make a shortcut to the interim assessment that took place after the cycle of four workshops in a joint wrap-up meeting in Bau-ABC. Below I have picked up some  points from the discussion:

a) The learning experiences in the groups

The participants from Bau-ABC started with comments on their special learning experiences and with positive feedback on the learning climate in the groups.  Here, it was worthwhile to note that several positive comments came from participants who indicated themselves as beginners. Also Director Emken (in the role of a participant) emphasised the importance that everyone had a chance to participate as a peer learner (and to learn more in one’s own pace). In this respect there was no pressure to try to know more (and to show more) than one was able.

ScrShot_Wrap-UpScrShot Blog-Debate

Screenshots 3 and 4: Reporting on learning by two groups with their GoConqr mindmaps

b) Feedback on practical arrangements

Concerning the practicalities, there were several comments. Firstly, the timing of the sessions on Friday afternoon was not considered quite ideal  for such learning new things.  Yet, we could agree that the groups had always overcome the fatigue and got inspired during the sessions. We got a clear signal that it was worthwhile to have two workshops for the same theme and a to maintain continuity across the themes. In a similar way the trainers appreciated the continuation of work with the same tutors in their groups.

c) Organisational implications

Director Emken referred to the need for Bau-ABC to position itself as users of digital media, web tools and mobile technologies in training. In this respect Emken emphasised that Bau-ABC is in the position of learner and has to make progress, but it is clearly moving on step by step. Here, Emken reminded that Bau-ABC needs to keep its industrial counterparts with it on the journey. From this perspective it was clear to him and to the participants that there is a commitment to continue with the Theme Room program and to make the best of it.

Altogether, the comments were positive and expressed willingness to work further with such training. We as Learning Layers partners were pleased to conclude the event by looking forward to good continuation. The Theme Room training had made its case and provided a good basis for the next steps.

Learning Toolbox (LTB) Chronicle Vol. 3, 1/2016

Learning Toolbox videos from Bau-ABC (2014) – Overview

In August 2014 the Bau-ABC team recorded a  series of videos to present ideas on possible uses of the Learning Toolbox in their training and in construction work. In this context the trainers also report on their progress with their own blogs, which they have used as repositories for training materials.

LTB Video 1/2014 The Multimedia Training of Learning Layers has had impact

The first video informs of the results of the Multimedia Training and of the trainers’ achievements in creating their blogs.

LTB Video 2/2014 Bau-ABC trainers’ views on the use of Learning Toolbox in training

The second video presents the trainers views and expectations on the benefits of using Learning Toolbox in training.

LTB Video 3/2014 Use of Learning Toolbox in an apprentice’s project in Bau-ABC

The third video gives a picture, how the apprentices projects are carried out currently and how they can be supported with Learning Toolbox.

LTB Video 4/2014 Learning Toolbox in different contexts of construction work

The fourth video presents possible uses of Learning Toolbox in different work situations.

LTB Video 5/2014 Learning Toolbox as means to highlight Health and Safety issues

The fifth video draws attention to Health and Safety issues in a training workshop and on outdoor training site.

LTB Video 6/2014 Learning Toolbox as means to capture instructions at the workplace

The sixth video shows how the Learning Toolbox can be used to capture instruction to ‘tricks of the trade’ in specific work situations.

LTB Video 7/2014 Learning Toolbox as means to support storage of special tools

The seventh video shows, how the storage of specific construction sector tools can be supported with the help of the Learning Toolbox.





LTB Video 1/2014 Multimediatraining von Learning Layers hat Wirkung

Das erste LTB-Video des Bau-ABC-Teams präsentiert einige direkte Auswirkungen des Multimediatrainingprogramms im Projekt Learning Layers.

Zuerst präsentiert Lehrwerkmeister Markus Pape (Bau-ABC) seinen Zimmererblog. In diesem Blog stellt er sämtliche Projektaufgaben der Auszubildenden für die Erstausbildung (von Jahr 1 bis Jahr 3) zusammen. Darüber hinaus bietet der Zimmererblog Empfehlungen für Fachliteratur und zusätzliche Lern-und Arbeitsaufgaben. Offensichtlich ist das Interesse an solchen Wissensressourcen groß: Schon wenige Wochen nach dem Start im Sommer 2014 werden über 6000 Zugriffe gezählt. Ein Grund mehr, die Initiative weiterer Lehrwerkmeister des Bau-ABC zu begrüßen, solche Blogs auch für andere Gewerke aufzubauen. Die Auszubildenden, die diese Materialien mit ihren Smartphones herunterladen können, haben eindeutig positive Rückmeldung gegeben.